Resources of the Himalayan Yoga Tradition

Talks on the Bhagavad Gita - 20

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The three gunas are Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. They are qualities within your personality and you can change them. Our personality and our mind are governed by these gunas. 

Rajas gives movement to sattva and tamas. They are alive because of rajas. Sometimes rajas or tamas is dominant in us. Sattva doesn't stay for a long time. When sattva is dominant, we make good decisions and lots of commitments. Then tamas takes over and we don't follow through our good intentions. With too much rajas we are too active, have too much hyper energy. Rajas has to be brought into control so you are not all over the place, scattered mind. When dominated by tamas, you are dull with no inclination, no self respect, no divinity, no confidence, full of inertia, tiredness and sloth. The gunas have colors. Black is tamas, red is rajas, and white is sattva. When the mind is black and you don't know what to do, that is tamas.

Sattva is light. When sattva is dominant, you know what is right and wrong and you live with your commitments. You are always aware not to let rajas or tamas take over. You balance. Inclination to dharma, spirituality, and obligations with right attitude is sattva. There are ways to create sattva. Swadhyaya (study of the Self), exercise (hatha yoga), pranayama, mantra, meditation - all these remove tamas. 

We have prana because we eat. Food has a great role in our life.

Yoga science talks a great deal about food. What kind of food should you eat if you are on the path of spirituality, of self realization. Food is also sattvic, rajasic and tamasic. Meat is heavy, full of tamas and you get the tendencies of the animal you eat. Tamas is hard to digest and too heavy. Rajasic foods make you hyper, too active e. g. garlic and onion. When someone is doing a special practice they often stay away from garlic and onions because they want to be stable and grounded, in one place and not too hyper. Sattva food is very light, such as greens, milk and ghee. Food that can be digested easily is always sattvic. The quality of food is quality of mind which is then quality of your body. 

Food is affected by the vibration of the person and the environment in which is was made. If a person is angry and thinking vengeful thoughts while cooking, they are giving that subtle energy to the food. Whoever eats it will of course be affected. Thinking sattvic thoughts while cooking will impart that energy to the food. Eat with awareness to keep the sattvic guna dominant.